This paper looks into steps that can be taken in order to be prepared to address any occurrence of a disaster situation. For each and every step taken to ensure the community is well-prepared for a disaster, it is important that they are well-documented. If the local authorities intend to seek the help of other organizations, they need to be informed in good time. When disasters, such as hurricane Charley, strike, everyone is affected. Animals are not left behind, as the shock sometimes leaves them homeless and lost.
Developing a Plan
The first thing to do is to come up with a team to lead your emergency response system. The organization needs to find a team leader. In identifying the right person to lead a team, there are a number of factors to be considered. In addition, the other members of the team also need to be given roles and responsibilities in the system; they will also perform the emergency rescuing function. When the team has been established, they will have an opportunity to practice performing tasks in their respective positions. After practicing for a while, the team members will get used to their roles and become more comfortable. This will allow the organization to respond effectively to disasters (USAID, 2005).
The organization needs to have an Incident Command Structure (ICS). In a disaster such as hurricane Charley, the local organization becomes part of a larger Incident Command Structure. In this case, Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County needs to have well laid down structures, such as an in-built system of reporting. This system should state the authorities that should be reported. It should also state how medics should be given the various responsibilities of every staff member. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County should also find a way of integrating all members of the society in the rescue program, especially local authorities that protect animals.
Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County should ensure that it is part and parcel of all emergency preparedness exercise for animal evacuation. They should also establish contacts with Government Emergency Management Officers, as the organization may need to work with particular organizations in case of evacuation. Decisions made at the government level may also have bearing on the activities carried out during an emergency. The other organizations that Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County will need to work closely with include Human and Animal Societies, the Animal Control Department and the Department of Agriculture (Campanella, 1999).
The emergency department authority needs to make sure that other organizations understand its needs during a disaster. The only way to ensure this happens is by Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County appointing a contact person to work together with the Emergency Response Centre. The contact person will be responsible for relaying its needs and concerns to the management office. These contact persons are also important in ensuring that there is communication between the organization and the community. This will ensure the community is well-prepared for any disaster that may occur.
Another step would be to identify people who can make up the emergency rescue team, as they should possess certain characteristics. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County may decide to use human resource firms to look for talents. They may also use volunteers, who are passionate about animal welfare and who are trained to deal with animal emergencies. These workers need to be certified after training. They should ensure that these employees are certified. There are specific credentials that an employee that will be involved in animal rescue mission needs to have. The organization also needs to come up with training materials for their staff and volunteers.
The main concern during an emergency response needs to be the safety of victims. This is the reason why all staff members involved in a rescue mission need to have relevant credentials for responding to emergencies like Hurricane Charley. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County also needs to hold briefings and trainings regularly in order to establish a rhythm for all the staff involved. Communication channels need to be left open both internally and externally to ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a rescue mission after disasters.
The second step would be for Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County to establish public information and education programs to enlighten the public about how to respond to emergencies. Creating awareness about animal rights and evacuation among the public is not an easy thing to do and requires lots of planning. There are various ways of educating the public about animal rights, such as Public Announcement systems, advertisement in print media, as well as the use of humane education or other forms of outreach programs available in the community.
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There are two particular audiences that Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County needs to reach out to. The first audience is represented by private citizens. The fastest way to reach private citizens would be to educate them about the existing local authorities and policies that protect animals. The organization also needs to work with citizens to come up with personal plans for their pets in the event of a disaster. They also need to work with them to come up with unique identification for their animal companions to ensure that they can be re-united with their companions, should they be separated during a disaster.
The other audience to reach would be internal personnel. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County should educate all its personnel about all the local and state organizations that deal with animal protection and how they can work together with these organizations. All personnel need to know their individual responsibility in responding to an emergency. The personnel also need to know that they are at liberty to seek additional training in responding to emergencies, and particularly in responding to lost animals during disasters.
The third step that Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County must take when developing a plan for leadership in animal rescue during disasters would be to clearly review the emergency rescue plans that already exist to check for any possible loopholes. They would also need to find out how many animals there are in the state and keep these figures regularly updated, seek coordination with other organizations that shelter lost animals, as well as identify particular locations that are able to shelter lost animals in case of a disaster.
For proper evacuation during an emergency, Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County must then come up with a protocol that is specific to species. The staff should not just be prepared to handle cats, dogs or small mammals, but also be ready to handle lizards, snakes and other exotic pets that require to be handled with care. These exotic pets have unique diets and need particular shelters. Not all staff members may be able to handle these pets. As such, special training should be conducted for some members of the staff to handle evacuation of these pets.
Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County also needs to come up with a plan how to evacuate and shelter livestock and animals after a disaster. The mode of transportation for these animals must also be taken into consideration. They also need to establish emergency veterinary services and how these emergencies should be dealt with, because death is inevitable in a disaster like hurricane Charley.
They also have the duty of assuring victims of contracts for animal support, as well as ensuring that rescued animals have shelter, food and security. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County should also find ways of providing backup for these supplies, should they run out. Some may require refrigeration for a while. During such emergencies, some animals are bound to be stranded in some remote locations. There should be preparations in place to ensure that food is delivered to these animals. They may have to find an agency to deal with the distribution of this food stuff to ease the workload.
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The veterinary emergency service should be on stand-by at all times to care for injured animals or pets. These locations should have all facilities in place to ensure that animals are well taken care of. In the event the animals are suffering too much, human euthanasia should be administered. The organization should identify relevant organizations that can provide support during disasters. The Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County should reach out to stakeholders in the county and other charitable organizations that can support animal evacuation procedures.
They should come up with a mechanism for communication and coordinate the process of sheltering the animals. There should be daily briefings for these interest groups in order to ensure that each group is informed of their role in the animal rescue process in the event of a disaster. It is also their job to recruit volunteers into their system, as well as coordinate the activities of these volunteers. Placement programs also need to be in place in order to establish the areas of the county that require more volunteers. They also need to ensure that these volunteers are adequately trained to deal with the emergencies that are associated with disasters of this nature. Volunteers that have professional training, such as vaccination of animals, need to provide evidence of these credentials.
Another step that needs to be taken in order to ensure that animals are effectively evacuated after such disasters is to seek support of the state and local authorities. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County could seek like-minded partners that are willing to aid these emergency processes. The organization may need to get into talks with other emergency response organizations, even in other counties outside of Charlotte. Organizations outside the county will be a lot of help in the event Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County is not able to accommodate and care for all the animals displaced by such disasters. This kind of agreement is reciprocal in nature, because the organization promises to return the favour, should they be in need.
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There are several suggestions about the nature of agreements that Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County could have with organizations in other counties. For instance, they could sign a Mutual Aid Agreement that clearly states the role these organizations will play in an emergency situation to avoid any confusion arising during rescue operations. If Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County made an agreement with a different emergency management organization in an adjacent county, the county is to give a pledge to house animals from CharlotteCounty in the event of a disaster.
Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County could decide to have a memorandum of understanding with another organization. The memorandum of understanding also clearly defines the roles of the other organization when a disaster occurs. If Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County signed an agreement with a different emergency management organization, they make an agreement that Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County will only send a given number of healthy chicken or cows when a disaster occurs, and that the other shelter will provide a given kind of shelter. They will also need to include copies of these agreements, whether it is an MOU or Mutual Aid Agreement in the disaster management plan.
The organization should also come up with systems that allow reporting of these conditions. They should list down all the possible diseases and formulate ways of dealing with it. They should also publish ways of identifying diseases and where they can be reported; this will allow for sick animals to be put away in quarantine in order to protect the healthy ones from catching the disease. The sick animals can also be treated by qualified personnel in specialized in animal health.
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Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County also needs to come up with daily action plans for after the disaster. A lot will have to be done even after the animals have been evacuated and put into safety. They will need to conduct searches for lost animals and pets that have been reported missing. They may need the local sheriff and security officers to help in the search. The sheriff’s office will need to know well in advance that their help would be needed. Other agencies, such as the Animal Control Unit, the Police Department and Wildlife Department, will all be needed to ensure that all animals are rescued.
Voluntary organizations and animal activists also need to be incorporated in the search for lost animals. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County also needs to identify transportation for these animals, as some of them will require a special kind of transportation due to their enormous size. In the event a third party service provider is needed to transport these animals, they need to be informed early enough. The transportation company should also take part in the specialized training so that they are well-prepared for any eventualities. All supplies required and personnel that may be necessary when a disaster occurs should be planned for beforehand (Mileti, 1989).
Policies should be formulated with regard to who gets access to areas that have been marked no-go zones. Everyone involved should be well-prepared and aware of what to do when disaster occurs. Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County also needs to establish a plan for demobilization. Demobilization is the process that involves the authorities concluding the whole rescue process. After a rescue operation, all resources and staff must be removed from the area where the disaster occurred. Shifting back to normal operations also requires their own level of planning.
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Failing to plan for demobilization plunges everyone involved into chaos and confusion. That is why just as it was in the beginning of the operation, Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County must put into place proper mechanisms for demobilization. In the event animals were evacuated during a disaster, there needs to be a way of relocating them back after the operation has come to an end. Once again, the provision of enough supplies for the animals needs to be considered. Transportation also must be planned for in advance, so that proper means of transport is found.
After all the planning has been done successfully, there is a need to also plan for the actual response to emergency. The important thing is to ensure that the laid down plans are followed through to the end. It would be pointless to go through the planning process only to act without the plan in the actual emergency. When a disaster occurs, everyone is thrown into a state of confusion and shock, and as such it is possible to forget about the well laid down plan. It is, therefore, the work of the Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County team leader to ensure that everyone involved in the rescue mission sticks to the blueprint.
While it may seem obvious that the plan will be used, sometimes this is not the case. The team leader should also ensure that the agreements for procurement that have been laid down are followed through by all parties involved. The plan already contains information on where to get the equipment and necessary facilities. It is important that this plan is followed through, so that the right equipment is used during animal evacuation. During the actual rescue, there is a need to have a daily plan of action. This daily action plan should be entirely based on the original plan that was made beforehand.
According to USAID (2005), the daily action plan states what needs to be done and how it should be done. It contains daily focus points and states the actions that need to be taken and when certain issues must be taken care of. Led by the team leader, everyone should take part in the formulation of this action plan, so that all rescuers know the part they have to play in the operation. This way there will be no confusion and everyone will know the relevance of their part in the rescue operation. There will certainly be a need to look at the bigger picture, especially with regard to sheltering animals, feeding them and treating sick animals.
The daily action plan includes a list of all activities that have to be taken care of, reports of the fieldwork, protocols of the rescue activities and safety concerns. The Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County must constantly update the status of the rescue mission to higher authorities of the state, so that it can be given help whenever necessary. Daily reports must be delivered to emergency operation centres who then liaise with other organizations that are involved in rescue operations, and especially those of animals. These daily reports show the accomplishments for the day and also identify any gaps that may arise in the rescue operation. This is done in order to ensure that other organizations involved in the rescue operation are given accurate updates about this operation on a daily basis.
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A daily record of actions taken also needs to be maintained. These daily records are quite important during and after the rescue operation. It will be needed in order to write a report after the mission is complete for both internal and external use. The report will also show the amount of money that was spent during the rescue process. A daily record of expenses will help in any reimbursement that Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County may be entitled to (Mileti, 1989).
In conclusion, Emergency Management Office of Charlotte County needs more resources in order to implement this development plan. A good plan will ensure that proper action is taken in the event of a disaster, such as hurricane Charley, occurs again. Disaster preparedness is important, as it helps avoid loss of lives of both humans and animals.